"Ron Howell’s book on Bertram Baker is crucial reading for anyone interested in the twentieth century political history of New York. Howell, the grandson of Baker, provides readers with extremely insightful details on the life of Brooklyn’s first black elected official. With an engrossing writing style, we learn about Baker’s start in politics in the early part of the twentieth century, to his election to the New York State Assembly, his appointment as chairman of the State Assembly’s Education Committee, Assembly Majority whip, and how he became the most prominent political figure in Bedford-Stuyvesant. With a balanced approach, Howell skillfully traces the triumphs and adversities of Baker’s political career and his impact on New York political life. The Boss of Black Brooklyn provides us with a deep understanding of ethnic and racial urban politics of the early and mid twentieth century. Ron Howell’s wonderful book demonstrates why Baker became an inspiration for a younger group of black politicians who would become prominent political leaders."
Clarence Taylor review